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With Ryan Theriot and Skip Schumaker set at shortstop and second, Tony La Russa and the Cardinals are pretty happy with the state of their middle infield. Depth, though, can never be a bad thing, and for that reason the team has signed free agent Nick Punto to a contract.
Terms of Punto's deal are unknown, but it's highly unlikely that he'll earn the $4 million he pulled home a year ago with Minnesota in the second year of a two-year contract. He's on his way to St. Louis to serve as a glove-first infield utility guy.
The 33-year-old Punto has never swung much of a bat, owning a career average of .247 with just 13 total home runs. However, he is capable of drawing a walk and putting the bat on the ball, and, more importantly, he's considered an excellent defensive player at a number of positions. He's comfortable at second, short, and third, and can start for long stretches at a time without embarrassing himself or badly hurting the team. He makes for solid insurance, and that's exactly what the Cardinals have been looking for.
For more, check out Viva El Birdos.
Update: Punto will earn $700,000 over a one-year contract.